Bristol Airport approval is ‘disappointing’ say opponents of Leeds Bradford expansion

Barry White

Plans to expand Bristol Airport’s capacity to 12 million passengers a year have been approved by the independent Planning Inspectorate. The expansion will allow the airport to increase its capacity from 10 million, and will also see upgrades to the terminal building, parking facilities and public transport links. The news is disappointing for campaigners against the proposed expansion at Leeds Bradford Airport, who are awaiting details of a local inquiry following the decision on 19 January by Communities Secretary Michael Gove to call in the application.

Although Bristol airport officials and business groups welcomed the decision, others, including the Avon and Bristol branch of CPRE, the Countryside Charity, branded it “devastating”. Carla Denyer, Bristol Councillor and Co-Leader of the Green Party, said: “Allowing Bristol Airport to expand – more than doubling its capacity – is an outrageous decision that is totally incompatible with the climate emergency”.

Independent scientific body Climate Crisis Advisory Group ( ) responded to the approved plans to expand the airport: “It is impossible to reconcile a decision like this with the reality the world is facing.

“We are building for a future that we won’t get to experience; it just won’t exist unless we face up to the fundamental changes required to reach net zero and beyond” they said.

Commenting on the decision, Ian Coatman secretary of the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GLABA) said: “The decision to allow Bristol Airport to expand is obviously disappointing to anyone that cares about the planet and our health, but that fight is far from over. The justifications given for the decision are poor and clearly flawed – so much so that a legal challenge is very likely.

“The decision just means that the Bristol campaigners will now fight even harder, and so must we. The more funds we raise, the more we will be able to put forward the best legal and technical arguments to explain why the Bristol decision should not be followed and why the expansion of LBA should not go ahead. The national campaign against aviation expansion is one of the most important and dynamic parts of the climate movement and we have no option but to win! Please support us by contributing to our fundraising.”

Bristol Airport is owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’). The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’) is Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan board. Leeds Bradford Airport was sold in 2017 to the Sydney-based fund AMP Capital, which owns Newcastle Airport as well as stakes in Thames Water and Angel Trains, a British rolling stock company established in April 1994.

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